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Legacies of the totalitarian system and the political transformation of Romanian society after 1989.

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Introduction

LEGACIES OF THE TOTALITARIAN SYSTEM AND THE POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION OF ROMANIAN SOCIETY AFTER 1989. Motto: "A party can only ever be one tool. And there is only ever one purpose: power." - Jean Paul Sartre. EES ON-LINE 2003-2005 MODULE: Politics TUTOR: PROF. Klaus Segbers Author: Maria Cristina MARIN Content of essay: 1. Legacies of the totalitarian system 1.1 Single party system 1.2 Ideology 1.3 Mobilization 1.4 Leadership 2. A portrait of the democratic change 3. A "sketch" of the future 1. Legacies of the totalitarian system The basic concept of the totalitarian state was best expressed in Mussolini's well-known phrase, "all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." Romanian totalitarian history has begun soon after the WWII. Once the Iron Curtain drawn on the Europe's map, Soviet Union consolidated its grip on Europe by creating satellite states in 1946 and 1947. The creation of NATO in 1949 had the effect of escalating the cold war. One by one, communist governments, loyal to Moscow, were set up in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Stalin used Soviet communism to dominate half of Europe, perhaps to simply protect his borders from any intervention on the part of the United States or the allies. A mutual assistance between Romania and the Soviet Union was set on 4th of February 1948. The signature of Warsaw Pact in May 1955 was just a re-confirmation of the "assistance". With the treaty, the communist regime in Romania secured itself externally, thus taking the first fundamental step towards establishing totalitarian rule. ...read more.

Middle

Once the 1948 constitution was adopted the separation of power was lost in favor to "Great National Assembly". Analyzing the chapter IV of the 1948 constitution one can realize that GNA was the unique legislative power who had also powers through its presidium to establish all the details of executive power, the government and the right to commute or reprieve the punishments therefore involvement into judicial system. Basically, without competition due to opposition's inexistence, the ruling Communist Party had control over the three branches of government. From loss of separation of powers to instauration of dictatorship in 1965, from infrastructural power to despotic power had been just an easy step. Yet there was a strong internal competition which many times took extra-ordinary cruel forms within the party. At the time of its emergence in the politics of postwar Romania, the Communist Party leadership fell into three factions, categorized to whether they had stayed in the country, divided in two groups, one which operated in prisons, a second one which operated in secrecy, or the third one which was constituted in Moscow during the War. The recruitment of the top leaders was not so related to commitment or success but mostly on the purges of the other factions. 2. A portrait of the democratic change The characteristic of regime change which took place in 1989 could be debated between the two concepts of "controlled" and "enforced". The main actor at forefront was the National Salvation Front with two leaders. ...read more.

Conclusion

It uses nowadays the ideological socialist principle of "social justice and equality" to mobilize a population remained partly attached to the collectivistic values and norms and, additionally, the credits related to the work done towards acquis communautaire and Romania's integration in EU. As Linz and Stepan (1996) characterized the post-totalitarian leadership "recruitment of top leaders is restricted to official party". SDP is represented actually by the President of Senate, the President of Chamber of Deputies and the majority of ministers. The president of the country was member of SDP (according to 2003 constitution the elected president must withdraw from the party which promoted and supported him in elections). 3. A sketch of the future The past decade has been a time of triumph for democratic forms of governance even if sometimes hard to get, going forward and many times backwards. One has to realize that democratization is not an irreversible process, its cause can be easily lost or stolen. Although far from perfect, steady progress toward democracy has taken place in Eastern Europe, including Romania. In this society where, until 1989, only a small portion of the population had a political voice, voting privileges have become widely available, and free elections offer citizens the possibility of real choices. Free voting has become a right and a responsibility: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana, 1905). As in a market economy where the competition is the driving force, so has to be political life, a field for permanent constructive debates, a field where the existence of pluralism, civil society, rule of law and free access to information through media is never put under question mark. ...read more.

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